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HALACHA-----tznius/ jeans and denim

chochma Posted - 14 February 2001 4:31

My school really dislikes jeans/denim. I think it’s a bunch of hogwash and poppycock (lol) what’s up wid dat?!

I mean they say it makes you look like a farmer and this and that and the other thing and Im like so what? farming is cool. I have some Very nice skirts, and I think rules like this really have nothing to do with Tznius at all - why are ppl so uptight about?

Posted - 14 February 2001 14:56

These things are judgment calls. The idea is this: Kol kevuda bas melech penimah means that women, even though they obviously need to be on the street at times, should at least look like they don't belong there.

Now, I did not say that they should not look like they belong there, but rather that they should look like they do not belong there. There is a big difference.

When you walk down Wall Street for instance, and you see these women in suits and briefcases, it's clear that they belong in an office, and that they are not merely strolling down the avenue, but need to be on the street to get somewhere.

It's that type of look that Kol kevuda bas melech penimah desires. Again, this is not to say that someone who does not have that "out of place" look on the street means they are hanging out, nor does it mean that they are any less frum than anyone else. But the point is NOT that your clothing makes you look like you're hanging out. Avoiding that look is not enough for Kol kevuda bas melech. To reach that level, the look must be one of out-of -placeness on the street. Like a princess whose formal dress hopefully lets everyone know that she only walks out of her castle for a purpose. Or at least, a businesswoman.

So your school thinks that the denim look is not formal enough to reach this level. Farming is cool, perhaps, if you're a farmer. But if you're a Bas Melech, looking like the farmer's daughter is out of place. They're not really wrong, especially if we're talking about the denim "look" - you know, the light blue top (with dark blue stitches at every seam) with the dark blue skirt (with white stitches), complete with pockets in the back, one of which has the brand name tag, which is designed to look as if it were made of leather, sewn prominently on to one of them.

The question is, where's the line? How do you quantify such a thing? And that's a judgment call for the Torah authorities in each community to make for themselves.

Denim itself is not like shatnez that is prohibited to wear. It's the "look" that you want to avoid. How far you have to go in order to cross that line is not something that can be measured, and it depends on the Torah authorities of each community.

Important note: Even where and to the extent that denim is not allowed, we are not talking here about violating open Halachos, such as wearing a short skirt or singing in public. It must be clear that this principle, although true, is not on the same level as the basic Tznius obligations. And if someone does violate this principle, that does NOT mean they are violating the Halochos of Tznius. It means that they are not fulfilling the inyan of Kol Kevuda Bas Melech to the extent that it should be fulfilled.

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